In a few months, World View will offer tickets for balloon rides that will take passengers to an altitude of about 100,000 feet. It's not high enough to experience microgravity, but they promise an awesome view.
Arizona-based World View thinks it has the answer for those who want the experience of spaceflight but have (relatively) limited funds: A seat on a capsule attached to giant helium balloons that will lift it up to a height of about 30 kilometers (almost 19 miles) above the surface. While it’s not technically space, and passengers won’t experience much in the way of microgravity, it’s still high enough to do serious damage to human systems if the craft isn’t properly built. Soon, the FAA is expected to release an announcement that the World View capsule qualifies as safe. Not long after, the company will begin selling tickets for trips that they say should begin in the next three years.
What’s the Big Idea?
The trip will cost $75,000, which is less than a third of the cost of a seat on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two. The distance traveled is less than SpaceShip Two’s intended 110-kilometer (about 68 miles) distance, also. However, project co-founder Jane Poynter says their ride will be worth it: “You can be sitting up there having your beverage of choice watching this extraordinary spectacle of the Earth below you and the blackness of space…for a lot less than most of what’s out on the market right now.”
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